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How Much Do Trade Show Booths Cost?

How much should you set aside if you want to set up a booth for a two- or three-day event? A common concern that SMBs have with trade show marketing is the cost. Many fear that hosting an exhibit for several days will set their finances back by several grand — which they would have to earn back in leads.

Contrary to popular belief, brands can execute trade show marketing strategies without overspending. The key lies in research. Understanding the average cost of rent, booth construction, promotional items, and manpower, among other expenditures, will help you create realistic budget plans.

Factors To Consider When Setting a Trade Show Marketing Budget

Exhibit Construction

Brands typically need to allocate 11% of their trade show marketing budget for the construction or rental of their exhibit. The three most common types of exhibits include:

  • Portable: Portable booths cost the least to set up. You can build a decent-looking 10x10 exhibit for $50 to $150 per square foot.
  • Modular: Modular exhibits consist of multiple stands and desks. They suit brands that need a relatively large space to showcase multiple high-ticket products without overspending. Most modular exhibits span from 20x20 to 50x50 square feet. Expect to shell out upward of $100 to $250 per square foot for booth construction and decoration.
  • Custom: Custom exhibits are the most expensive type of trade show booth. Depending on the exhibit setup you want, they could set you back by over $300 per square foot.

Rental Space

Convention centers charge varying rates per square foot. Unfortunately, the only way to determine rental rates accurately is to request the estimates yourself. Expect that centers in larger cities charge more. You might have to shell out several grand if you want a relatively large exhibit space in cities like New York or Las Vegas.

Event Staff Salaries

As a trade show booth owner, you are responsible for your event staff. Apart from their salaries, you’ll also have to consider their daily meals, transportation, and commissions. Don’t skimp your employees. The success of your booth heavily depends on their sales and marketing skills.

Promotional Items

What promotional items do you plan on handing out at the event? Standard options like pens, lanyards, and flyers will keep your overhead low, but they might not yield the best results. 

If you want to make an impact, opt for customizable freebies that suit your brand. For instance, let’s say you have a software development startup. Instead of boring flyers, you can hand out USB flash drives containing free trials to your program or app.

Overall Cost

So, how much should you set aside for your trade show booth? SMBs will have plenty of options with ​​$10,000 to $20,000. This amount covers a 10x10 to 20x20 sq. ft. booth, two-person event staff, and standard promotional items.

However, larger brands that want to stand out should consider investing at least $50,000. For this amount, you’ll get a massive 50x50 sq. ft. trade show booth, multiple event staff, and premium promotional items.

Are you having doubts about whether trade show booths will benefit your business? Exhibit Display Systems can shed some light on the topic! Check out our in-depth resources explaining everything SMBs should about trade show marketing.

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